Estate Planning in the Cloud

Estate planning law firms have “special needs” when it comes to practice management systems. The primary challenge for estate planning firms is dealing with the complexity of the law in multiple jurisdictions, the effects of government programs such as the Veterans Administration and Medicaid, and the cross-over with financial and tax considerations.lwp_procees_diagram_small

This complexity is often too much for individual firms, and as a result the estate planning legal community has organized itself into groups where intellectual property, best practices, and expertise can be shared.

Much of the shared intellectual property has been captured in document automation templates using technologies like HotDocs. However no standard has been established as a suitable container for best practices and workflow. Firms would typically use different systems for matter management, document assembly and accounting/billing. Not only is this costly and complex but it also requires double (or triple) data entry. This is clearly not an ideal situation, and the estate planning organizations have been struggling with this problem for years.

Enter Lawyers with Purpose (LWP)…

LWP is an excellent example of an estate planning and elder law organization that provides significant value to its members through education, coaching, best practices, and shared intellectual property and document automation tools. However the challenge remained on how to deliver all this value in a comprehensive and easy-to-use manner.

Until Now.

LWP and Actionstep

Over the last few years LWP and Actionstep have been working closely together to incorporate the LWP workflows and document templates into the Actionstep cloud-based practice management system.

The combination of Actionstep and LWP is a match made in (cloud) heaven, for a number of reasons:

  1. Actionstep’s flexible workflow underpinning makes it a natural container for the LWP best practice workflow processes;
  2. Being a “cloud” solution means that members to not have to install any local software or infrastructure and software and process updates happen automatically;
  3. Actionstep integrates directly with HotDocs on the “cloud” so all the historical intellectual property contained in Hotdocs templates runs seamlessly within the matter files and eliminates the need for firms to have local versions of HotDocs; and finally
  4. Actionstep is a complete practice management system that ties everything together, and includes sales and marketing with matter management, document production, finance and accounting in a single application. So no more double (or triple) data entry.

Cloud computing is rapidly transforming many traditional industries, and there is no shortage of examples. Think of airline bookings, banking, postal services, and landline phones. What LWP and Actionstep have put together is truly transformational and one can’t help to think that this will be the shape of the estate planning arena in the years to come. Exiting times!

For more information in Lawyers with Purpose see www.lawyerswithpurpose.com

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